GSA Could Do More To Improve Energy Conservation in New Federal Buildings

PLRD-82-90: Published: Jul 12, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) ability to reduce energy consumption in newly designed federal buildings to meet the standards specified in Executive Order 12003.

Ineffective communications concerning energy conservation requirements between the GSA Central Office, its regional offices, and architect-engineer (A/E) firms is one reason the firms are submitting unsatisfactory designs. The condition exists even though GSA has issued guidelines and criteria for its energy conservation requirements and offers any assistance necessary to help A/E firms achieve the building energy usage goals. The Norris Cotton Federal Building is the GSA energy conservation demonstration project. The successes, failures, and problems experienced in this building are not made known by GSA to others for consideration in designing new federal buildings. Other factors which contribute to unsatisfactory designs and which need to be improved are: (1) the regional offices' not having adequate knowledge of energy conservation technology to ensure that design submissions comply with GSA requirements; (2) the central office's having no assurance that problems identified will be solved because the regions are not required to implement the corrective actions; (3) the failure to conduct all planned post-occupancy evaluations; (4) a delay in completing the instructions implementing the revised management for processing designs; and (5) the lack of a standard for evaluating energy conservation expertise when selecting A/E firms.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require the Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, to summarize the successes, failures, and problems gained from the Norris Cotton Federal Building into a document, showing how this knowledge can be applied to other new federal buildings, and provide this document to designers of other federal buildings.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require the Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, to establish a standard, with minimum and maximum values, for evaluating energy conservation expertise when selecting A/E firms.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require the Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, to implement the post-occupancy evaluation program with specific attention to energy conservation matters.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should direct the Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, to promptly implement the procedures for the revised policy to improve the quality of designs.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require the Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, to incorporate into the energy conservation guidance provided to A/E firms, the experiences gained on projects constructed after the Norris Cotton Federal Building.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should require the Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service, to provide the training necessary in the GSA energy conservation requirements and state-of-the-art energy conservation technology for the regional energy design review staff to perform their duties.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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